The concept of dog leash manners is really simple, but to be successful you must consistently follow these rules:
1. Don’t pull on your dog. Many people try to use their leash to control, and to communicate with, their dog. If you steer your dog with the leash or you pull your dog along when he is distracted or lagging behind, you are teaching your dog to expect to feel tension on his neck. You are also teaching him that the only time he must pay attention to you is when you tug on the leash. Most people who have pulling problems with their dogs have actually taught their dogs to pull on leash.
2.Don’t reward pulling. When your dog is pulling on leash, stop and wait for him to look at you for directions and preferably to come closer to you, before you continue moving. Don’t reward a tight leash with any forward movement, and your dog will quickly learn that pulling is not the quickest way to get to their goal.
3.Reward for a loose leash (this is the step most people forget). Reward at first with click/treats for every step or two you take with slack in the leash, then click/treat for every three steps, five steps, eight steps, etc. as long as your dog continues to walk without tension in the leash. If your dog looses focus, simply stop and begin the process again. As he gets more consistent, continue with verbal praise and occasional treats for longer periods of slack. The more distracting the environment, the more frequently you should click/treat. It’s much easier to keep your dog’s attention than it is to get it back once you’ve lost it to a distraction.
If you are committed to being consistent with leash training, soon your dog will be consistently walking on a loose leash. If you forgo the training to occasionally “just go for a walk,” your dog will be forever pulling on the leash.